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Thursday, 13 February, 2003, 10:57 GMT
Six killed in Mid-East violence
Boys inspect the rubble of the house of Baha Saeed whose mother was crushed inside.
On Wednesday Israeli forces blew up a house in Gaza
In a night of fresh violence four Palestinians and two Israelis have been killed in two separate incidents in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Two Palestinian gunmen were shot dead after mounting an attack on an Israeli army post in a Jewish area near the West Bank town of Nablus, in which two Israelis were killed.

In a second incident, an Israeli helicopter opened fire with machine guns at the edge of Gaza City, killing two Palestinian medical workers, according to Palestinian sources.

The continuing violence in the occupied territories forms a backdrop to political negotiations in Israel as Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tries to form a new coalition government after he and his hardline allies won a clear majority in recent elections.

The results, along with the possibility of a war on Iraq, have alarmed Palestinians, says the BBC's Jerusalem correspondent Barbara Plett.

They are afraid Mr Sharon could use the war as a pretext to invade Gaza and destroy the rest of the Palestinian authority.

Army post attack

In the Nablus incident, two Israeli soldiers, including an officer, were shot dead by Palestinian militants in an ambush near Mount Gerizim on the southern outskirts of the West Bank town, Israeli security sources said.

The two Palestinians were killed in exchanges of fire with the Israeli army during the attack, the Israeli sources said.

Two militias - the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, affiliated to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) - said they carried out the attack together.

In the Gaza incident, the director of a local hospital was quoted by the Reuters news agency as saying that the two Palestinian men killed, both in their 20s, were shot as they worked in a nearby home for the elderly.

The incident occurred just across from the Israeli village of Nahal Oz, which correspondents say is frequently the target of attacks by Palestinian militants.

Israeli military sources said that during an operation in Gaza, helicopters had used gunfire on open spaces to discourage attack, but they were unaware that anyone had been shot.

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The BBC's Barbara Plett
"The two gunmen were also shot dead"

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04 Feb 03 | Middle East
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